The Travels of a Data Scientist: From Mississauga to Seoul
By: Gavin O'Driscoll
After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Physics at Trinity College Dublin, Gavin joined the Options Programme in June 2018 as a Data Scientist. Following his graduation from the Capital Markets Training Programme, he shares insights on his time in Canada and Korea.
My First Derivatives journey began in June 2018 when I joined the Options programme as a Data Scientist. I had finished college just two weeks prior, earning a degree in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, and was ready for a new adventure. My first two months with FD was spent training in Newry. As part of a rather large intake, I got to meet people from all over the world and those months passed by in a blur of CMTPs, great social events, sunny weather and hours spent watching the FIFA World Cup! On the weekends, I was lucky enough to be able to visit my college friends in Dublin and sometimes make the longer journey home to Cork to see my family.
In early August, I was equally surprised and delighted to hear that I had been put forward for a role working on the Kx for Sensors team in Mississauga, just outside Toronto. This came as a bit of a shock to my parents, but they were soon reassured when I sent them photos of the city and stories of the fantastic team I was working with. Arriving during the tail end of summer, I fell in love with Toronto’s diverse and unique cultural scene. I had never been to North America before and it was a totally new world for me.
The Kx for Sensors team in Mississauga put me through my paces with a further month of training. I was brought up to speed with their high coding standards and given a crash course on this incredibly powerful product. The Mississauga office is such a warm and welcoming place and, even though I’ve been away for a few months now, it still feels like my home within FD. Traditions in the office included lunchtime ice-skating sessions, the running club, basketball games and the famous Burrito Wednesdays! Paired with great social outings and an office-wide Potluck and Secret Santa during the holiday season, working in Mississauga was a wonderful experience. I spent the coldest winter of my life huddled-up in Toronto and was incredibly relieved when springtime came around.
Throughout this time, I was working very closely with a South Korean client and it was decided that they required some on onsite support for an upcoming project. So, at the end of May 2019, off I flew to Seoul, becoming the first consultant in Kx’s Korean office. I had never visited Asia before, so it is fair to say this was a dizzying experience. At the time there were just three employees in the office, but it was clear that things were growing, with a sense of anticipation in the air. Within a month, there were three more engineers and an ever-growing workload. We all worked long hours during this time to meet the challenging deadlines but, luckily, we had the perfect team for the job. What was supposed to be a three month stay soon turned to five months, but I didn’t notice as I was too busy making lifelong friends, embarking on once-in-a-lifetime holidays and sampling Korea’s incredible cuisine.
I returned to Toronto in October 2019. Just in time for the winter but also, more importantly, just in time for the Friday skate sessions and the hockey season! It was a whirlwind two months, catching up with all my friends and settling back to the Toronto way of life after the bustling 24-hour culture in Seoul. With major updates being made to Kx for Sensors, I found myself settling into a testing and administration role, building a much deeper understanding of KxS and the Kx Platform.
In January 2020, I made a long-term return to Seoul to work on some of the POCs in progress there. Since then, time has flown by. It’s hard to believe I’ve been with FD for two years and I am truly staggered when I think about how much personal and professional growth I have gone through in that time. If the years to come are anything like the last two, I can’t wait to see who I meet and where I end up on my FD journey!
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